Wednesday, 31 December 2014


I guess this could be seen as a post about new year's resolutions but I don't want to think about it that way.
It's almost like in uttering them, they become a big fat burden and invariably get chucked out.
So instead I'm just thinking out loud about a couple of things I plan to do for myself and see where it goes.

After what's been a challenging year - 2014 seems to have been a difficult one for lots of people and was for our little family - I'm hoping/wishing that 2015 will be less fraught.

This year, in no particular order, I plan to grow my hair again (cut it shorter and wish I had the length back), walk more, be less stressed by things I can't change, explore new opportunities with my writing and live more in the moment.

It will also be a year of changes. Now that our youngest has finished school we're planning to sell our home of 16 years and move out of the burbs and closer to the beach. Downsizing. We don't need the big house anymore and we want to do more travelling and less maintaining of property. We're not sure yet where we will end up. Ms Ripe will come with us we think at this stage but she may also decide to move in with friends or live in at uni when we know what she's offered.

It's exciting. And it's the right time for us. Mr Ripe and I have been together 32 years, married for 30. We've raised our three babies, fed, clothed, schooled and prioritised our tribe but now it's time to draw breath and go forward in a new way.

I'm looking forward to what will happen. And where this next stage of our journey together will take us.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The education of JoeyRipe continues

What I learnt this year - the top 25 cos that's my real age

1. Supervising a Learner driver does not get easier third time around
2. Starting a new job is hard
3. You are never ever too old to learn
4. I am too much of a smartarse at times
5. Family is everything
6. Love hurts
7. Watching your child suffer, no matter how old, is heartbreaking
8. VCE (year 12 for you non-Victorians) is a bitch
9. A good glass of champagne will always help
10. Walking on the tready every day does work
11. Always check the shower before getting in (redback spider alert)
12. I can be married for 30 years and still be in love
13. Writing a book is a labour of aaaggghhhh
14. Regrets are pointless
15. I don't have to be the strong one all the time
16. My mum and brother are lunatics when they get together
17. Kindness is underrated but it's the best thing ever
18. My youngest turning 18 is bittersweet
19. I miss sleeping waiting for 18 year old to come home
20. Burch and Purchase gourmet wagon wheels are the bomb
21. I need a new oven
22. Sometimes you need to force people to talk, no matter how much they don't want to
23. Top TV - The Fall, Missing & Endeavour
24. Old friends are the best
25. New friends can be too

Monday, 29 December 2014


Last night we (Mr Ripe, Ms Ripe and I) grabbed a few bottles of wine, a salad Ms Ripe had whipped up and some leftover Chrissy chocolates - are they multiplying in the cupboard? - and moseyed over to our neighbours for a BBQ. Another couple was there with their teenage daughter and the neighbours also have two teenage girls. We'd been planning to catch up for a while but you know - life. It just gets in the way. There was talk about the neighbours of course. We have two families where the dads are carrying on a bromance. They spend most weekends sitting in the garage of one house drinking, watching sport on the telly and every so often whip out the clippers and give each other a haircut. We're not sure where it's headed but makes for interesting viewing! What stopped us in our tracks at last night's gathering was a conversation between our neighbours and their outspoken 15 year old (is there any other kind of 15 year old girl??) The parents have got a tracking device on her phone because they are concerned about where she is, who she is with and the weirdos in the world waiting to prey on their daughter.
They say it's not about her necessarily, but if she got kidnapped they would be able to find her. I admit to being a bit gobsmacked by it all. Whilst I'm all for safety, I think tracking your teenage daughter's movements is a big step. As a parent of three now adult children - Ms Ripe is now 18 - I think trust and responsibility for your own actions are so important for a child as they grow to be an adult. Course I said so. Dur. But privately, not in front of the feisty 15 year old who thinks her parents are paranoid and delusional. I know the world can be dangerous and there are plenty of crazies out there. But there are plenty of good people too. How does anyone decide between the two if they aren't equipped? If they haven't had to mature and make decisions themselves? Trust is such a fragile thing between parent and child. For me, I couldn't put it at risk in this way.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Done and dusted

It's been a big few days. Started with the arrival of my brother from LA and boy did we have some fun. Dan Murphys is wondering what sent its profits soaring above projected levels. As it should be there were many late nights, stories shared and many many laughs. In 20 something years, we have had Christmas with him twice and boy did we make up for it. There was loads of food and Melbourne turned on the most glorious day for it. I was pretty pleased with my Christmas table. Grabbed some fir branches from my big tree out the front and sprayed them with gold glitter. Gave red roses the same treatment with a sprinkling of gold dust and with lots of little fairy lights it looked very festive.
Highlights for me: my mum's joy that we were together (defs the best pressie ever for her); playing backyard cricket; the yummy seafood and Chrissy pudding and the thoughtful pressies from the kids. Lowlights: my stupid temperamental oven which meant my pork crackling was a dismal failure. Grrr. Time for a new oven Santa. Christmas still continues to be little weird with older kids now. We're up early waiting for them to wake. Yes, it's nice to start the day with a coffee before the chaos but I miss that crazy 5am wakeup now I don't have it any more.

Monday, 15 December 2014


I am the mother of a helper. Someone whose profession means he runs towards trouble, not from it. I have had to adjust to that. When he was a teenager, going out, we'd always say watch out for trouble, look after yourself, walk away. Like so many of you yesterday I watched the hostage crisis unfold in Sydney. Tears. Anger. Fear. The faces of those girls fleeing, terror chasing their footsteps. And then the news this morning of the police storming in, gunfire, death. Courage. The young café manager who risked all for those around him. And those police and emergency workers who despite their best efforts could not save everyone. @edenland posted this on her instagram
and it made me think of this: Remember the power of love and creation will always triumph over the power of destruction and revenge. —Walter Mikac. It will always triumph. #blessthehelpers

Thursday, 11 December 2014


In the spirit of Mrs Woog's trip back in time to Christmases past, I remember a cracker of a Christmas. I was nine and like Mrs Woog, my mum had just remarried after it being just my brother, mum and I for five years. And it was good. He loved us and we loved him. He was the brother of the lady next door and we'd known him for a while. The neighbours had been like our extended family for years. And now those neighbours - all four kids, our best mates - were now our real cousins. Magic. These were the kids we made towel turbans and daisy chain headpieces with after spending a day in the sun, crisping up our skin and eating frozen cordial ice strips that made our chins sticky. Sweaty from backyard cricket, wearing bikinis and terry towelling tops - mine had Minnie Mouse on it - we would pinch Uncle Max's passionfruit straight from the vine and suck out the centres. Our real dad had buggered off to pastures unknown, never to be seen again, when we were little. Let's just say he was a nasty piece of work not a nice fella. Come Christmas morning there were two things under the tree - a pair of Orange Daddy Long stilts - woohoo - and a black and white puppy.
So exciting, wonderful, extraordinary. Of course that afternoon the puppy sat in the pav on the backseat of the car and got yelled at, tried to eat the extension cord for the lights and spewed everywhere at Aunty Barb's. Nobody really cared. I loved that puppy (she lived to be 15) and I rocked those stilts. I could even jump rope in them. But as great as the presents were, for my brother and I that Christmas was about seeing our mum happy. I didn't even realise that I'd felt worried about life but I must have because I remember the relief of feeling secure after years of not being sure everything would be ok even though I don't think until I was older I really understood what I had felt. And best of all, my mates were now really my family.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


What is your etiquette when it comes to the loo? Are you one stall removed? Do you take the last one? Or don't give a toss? I despise people coming into the cubicle next to me when there are others to choose from. I just don't get it. If you were getting on a bus and there were spare seats, would you squish up against the person you didn't know? No. You'd sit in another seat with your bags and phone and book if you're a planner. That's another thing. Why do people talk on the phone in the toilet? If it's ever happened to you - hello darling Mr Ripe - it echoes. People can tell. I also don't want to hear you letting loose to your bestie about Cheryl from Accounts and how she's pissed you off as you're pissing. Where's the dignity. You're in the toilet. Leave space. Shut up. Quickly and quietly please. And don't even get me started on those that leave a mess behind....